Game of Thrones – “The Long Night” (B+)
One of the most epic, awe-inspiring things ever made for television is a bit undercut by its horrendous editing during the first siege. I’m sure the creative team think they’re conveying the chaos of a battle like this, but it’s hard to see and harder to comprehend. Everything after Melisandre lights the trench is much better, even as characters make some absolutely stupid mistakes. Still, that last scene is damned impressive and satisfying.
Barry – “ronny/lily” (A-)
Like Atlanta‘s “Teddy Perkins” last year, this is an astonishing one-off that ultimately doesn’t do that much for the narrative thrust of the season (that one character’s death notwithstanding). But wow, what an episode. Brilliantly directed by Hader, this is a marvel of cinematography, staging and production design. It’s going to make my best episodes of the year list for sure.
Veep – “Super Tuesday” (A-)
While I’m not sure I buy that character’s death (a fake-out seems most plausible), this is a bounce back from last week, with Selina’s cynicism blocking out every last possible emotion. I’m not sure how I didn’t see the reveal of Jonah and his ex-step-sister being actual half-siblings coming, but it was no less stomach-churning (literally) and hilarious when it arrived. But my biggest laugh came from Richard telling Dan that, now that they’re moving to Des Moines, his ancient secretary is now “fair game” and “DTF” (diverticulitis flare-up).
Killing Eve – “Desperate Times” (A)
The most stylish episode yet, with the extreme violence, incredible set design and cinematography, and queer subtext reminding me of Hannibal at its best. The show has found its groove again and it’s magnificent.
Anthony Jeselnik: Fire in the Maternity Ward (B+)
As usual, Jeselnik bulldozes through the most sensitive of topics with a smile on his face. His two centerpiece bits – a crafty section on racism and a 15-minute closer on a trip to an abortion clinic – had me laughing uncontrollably. I think the reason I love Jeselnik so much, besides his fearlessness, is that while he’s smirking the entire time, he never once mocks you for feeling uncomfortable. He knows it, you know it, it’s kind of the point. But he’s doing this to make you laugh, not to make some point about “P.C. culture.”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Return of the King” (B-)
Gina’s grand return is a bit of a dud, as her shtick goes global but isn’t very funny. Her strained relationship with Jake makes for some solid stakes, but this is overall a very meh episode, a real rarity for this show.
A.P. Bio – “Dr. Whoopsie” (B+)
Any show can do a Law & Order parody. (My beloved Community already did it.) But only this show would also weave in a parody of Doubt, and have a kid where an Ernest Goes to Syria T-shirt.
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson – Season 1 (B+ average)
Like any sketch comedy, it’s hit or miss. But when it hits – often by going as weird as possible – it’s among the funniest things I’ve seen all year. My top 5 sketches:
1. “Hot Dog Car Crash”
2. “Plane Revenge” (aka “The Man”)
3. “Game Night”
4. “Gift Receipt”
5. “Honk If You’re Horny”